Last Will & Testament
The first step in any solid estate plan is a last will and testament. This is a document that outlines the details of who will inherit your assets and how that inheritance will be carried out. It will name a Personal Representative (formerly ‘Executor’) who will be in charge of settling your affairs and executing your wishes. It will outline your desires for memorial services, charities you prefer for donations, and if you want cremation or traditional burial. If you have surviving children who are minors, it will name a guardian for them until they become adults.
Without a will, the intestacy laws of the State of Florida will determine the destiny of your estate. If you own property outside of Florida, the laws of the state where the property is located will also come into play. This can sometimes mean double beneficiaries. Without a will, there is a very good chance that your estate may end up in different hands than you had hoped. It will also mean a long and arduous probate court process and many additional fees for your family.
A will package also provides important information about healthcare decisions in the event of your incapacity. By taking steps to plan now, you can minimize estate taxes, make gifts and donations, outline your wishes for the future of your business, and avoid a lengthy probate period.
Pre-need guardianship documents are necessary for parents of minor children. These documents will allow parents to identify the person(s) they wish to have responsibility for the children should they, the parents, become incapacitated or die. Without these directions the decisions as to where your children will live and who will raise them is left up to the court system. Prepare these documents now while you are finalizing your other estate documents.
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